Monday, March 9, 2015

Ash 'n' Cinders - Catification

Having indoor-bound cats now has meant getting a little more creative in keeping them amused and stimulated, especially during these cold winter months.

Cats are annoyingly adoringly pernickity, and often buying them toys from a pet shop is an instant fail - they're far more likely to play with the plastic tie that attached the toy to its packaging than they are with the toy itself.  So often it's a bit of trial and error, and often a case of repurposing bits and pieces from around the house (boxes, paper bags etc) to keep them temporarily amused.

One of my birthday presents last year was the Catification book by Jackson Galaxy.  I'm not sure if his programmes are still shown in the UK ("My Cat from Hell"), but basically he's like the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, but for cats.  I love watching his programmes, which more often than not, involve retraining the owners rather than the cats.

Anyway, his book explains the different ways you can "catify" your home to make it a more cat-friendly environment.  There are some fantastic examples of elaborate ceiling walkways  and beautiful cat trees etc, but as we're currently renting, our efforts need to be a little more practical and "temporary"!

So, in no particular order, Ash and Cinders are now, in turns, both delighted and disdainful of the following attempts at catifying our their home.

    Cat Trees - we've installed a huge 6 foot cat tree next to the big bay window where they can look out and watch the squirrels and birds in the trees outside and keep an eye on occasional comings and goings along the road.  Views out of windows are somewhat limited, as apart from the bay window, there are no other windowsills big enough for them to perch on (they are all sash windows). 
A smaller cat perch sits near the sliding doors at the back of the house, but this appears to be less pleasing in the colder months...


"Scent Soakers" - important for cats to feel comfortable, so we have plenty of beds, throws and cushions strategically placed around the house for them to lounge in / on / around, with the comforting smell of cat + hooman + home.  This ensures they can reasonably get their standard 18-21 hours' sleep each day. 

Ash currently prefers the one in the bay window, where he can bask in the occasional wintery sunbeam. 

Cinders likes the one newly placed next to my workroom desk (which also stops her "helping" me and sitting on my keyboard).  Both of them fight over premium space on the blanket at the end of the bed under the warm air vent.

    "Cat TV" installed - ie various bird feeders placed outside the bay window and the patio doors.  The cats can watch the birds at the front in the bay window (along with the occasional mouse), as well as the squirrels wrecking the bird feeder at the back of the house (although, as previously mentioned, this spot is currently rejected for more sun-beam worthy spots in the bay window).
    Cinders spends most evenings now on "mouse alert", waiting for the mouse to appear at the bird feeder...

Greenery - cat grass and cat mint - seeds of both have been purchased and planted in small pots to ensure a constant supply of greenery to aid digestion.  Both cats enjoy regular munching.  Cat mint has had to be replaced several times due to over-enthusiastic chomping.

Interactive games - This is Ash's favourite "game", probably because it involves food, and he'll patiently sit next to it with an enquiring air of expectation until I place biscuits from his food bowl into the tubes.  He then adroitly hooks them out and inevitably chases them under the sofa...  Now that he's mastered this, I have recently made it more difficult by placing a toy mouse on top of said biscuit in the tube.  He sulked for a little bit, but then his belly-logic took over and the mice are now no obstacle to him retrieving the biscuits.

Another current favourite for Ash (as long as he doesn't have to share it with his sister), is the laser pen - the most energetic he ever gets (in short doses) as he kind of shuffle-pounces around the room after the elusive red dot...

So I think we've done a reasonable job of catifying the space we share with our cats.  Do you go to similar lengths to keep your pets happy?

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